Monday 27 April 2020

IBS Awareness Month 2020 - The Low FODMAP Diet

So, this is my second year blogging for IBS Awareness Month.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is something that I've struggled with for a long time and for me it's just become my new normal. 

IBS is the medical name given to describe a number or gastrointestinal symptoms. IBS affects around 1 in 5 adults in the UK and it can vary in severity from person-to-person. Some of the symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, symptoms being made worse after eating and more. (British Dietetic Association)

This year I thought I'd give you a recap and update on the Low FODMAP Diet that I've been on since 2018.

For those who don't know the Low FODMAP Diet (link to a blog post I did which gives a fuller explanation) is a medically prescribed elimination diet specifically designed for people with IBS or other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

FOMAP's are different types of short-chain carbohydrates and FODMAP stands for each type of fermentable carbohydrates; these are...

These foods are poorly absorbed in the gut and include simple and complex sugars which can be found in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, wheat and milk.

The Low FODMAP diet has been pretty incredible for me. It's defiantly reduced my gastrointestinal symptoms (though I still have issues related to my other illnesses), but in terms of my IBS it is now so much better than it was a few years ago.

I still do get IBS symptoms like bloating, pain, cramping, constipation etc, but it's not all day everyday and when it does falre-up its more manageable and I also notice that often my symptoms will flare up after eating a food high in FODMAP's. 

Now usually when I have a flare up I'll just need to put some heat on my tummy and drink some herbal tea which usually settles things as well as remembering to be extra cautious for a short while to avoid FODMAP foods. If my IBS flare is really bad I might take some medication like Buscopan. I have my Mebeverine which I take before eating. I now longer need to take my Colpermin and I very very very rarely need to take strong laxatives except senna which I currently take every night. Before going on the Low FODMAP Diet I was taking bowel surgery strength laxatives and they still didn't work.

I still find it amazing how just changing my diet has improved my IBS.

One thing I've found really interesting is how before going on the Low FODMAP Diet I ate and drank everyday things now I can't tolerate any more such as soya, wheat, gluten and certain fruits and vegetables.

The Stage 1 of the Low FODMAP Diet was completely cutting out all foods that contains FOMAP's. 

The in Stage 2 of the diet you start to reintroduce foods to find out what you can or can't have, or what you can tolerate in small amounts.

I'm now on stage 3 which is living with a customised Low FODMAP Diet.Like for example I'm on a total wheat and gluten free now, and I've switched to drinking oat milk but I can tolerate small amounts of soya, like one soya yogurt a day or have a small latte. 

If you have IBS or any other form of digestive discomfort I would highly recommend the Low FODMAP Diet but you would have to speak to a medical professional first such as a doctor, nurse specialist or dietician who will know if it is suitable and safe for you to do so. It also helped to talk to a Dietician who can explain the diet to you and what you can and can't eat, how you're getting on, meal ideas and also to ensure that you're still getting enough calories and nutrients.

When I first started on the Low FODMAP Diet it was a fairly new thing in the UK, but now it starting to be better understood and there are many dieticians who specialise in it.

Obviously it's not a magic cure but it certainly has made live a lot better for me.